Entertainment Earth

Adi Granov calls out Francesco Mattina for using AI for Action Comics cover

Artist Adi Granov has punlicly called out cover artist Francesco Mattina for a recent Action Comics cover that obviously used AI assistance.

Here’s what he wrote on Facebook and Instagram

When image generators first came to prominence the first person who came to mind was the serial plagiarist Francesco Mattina as I thought he’d think all his Christmases have come at once. If you don’t remember, he made a whole career out of photobashing other people’s art (mine included) into whatever you want to call his “work”. I don’t post about artists I dislike, but I neither consider him an artist nor can I hide my dislike for the continued blatant plagiarism. Anyhow, here’s his new cover. Not only is he a hack, but he’s not even good enough to hide the glaring mistake on one of the most iconic symbols in all of pop-culture.

And here’s the two photos he posted noting the AI elements.

Today Granov posted a follow up post, a lengthy one too.

Sorry for another post about Mattina, but the one from yesterday now has so many comments and shares it’s impossible to keep track of it.

I want to reiterate that making a negative post like that really goes against my general attitude towards art and artists, but more so it can also be dangerous as it might be perceived as bullying. Not much gets under my skin in such a way, but certain things really need to be called out. Here I am about 10 days into a traditional painting obsessing over every detail, fighting the materials, mixing paints, etc., which is my choice as I want to accomplish something I am proud of and something the audience can view and hopefully see how much skill, care and time I put into it. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, some might even hate it, but it can’t be denied that I gave it my all.

I am trying to pay respect to the art, the subject matter, to myself and to the audience who I want to be able to have confidence and trust in the authenticity of what they are seeing.

The cover I posted by Francesco Mattina, much like all of his work I’ve ever seen, is a literal antithesis of all of those things. He has had a very long career built upon deceiving the audiences with his cheap digital trickery, using blurs and lensflares to disguise and obscure all of the elements he has stolen from so many of my peers and me included. I am not the first to point this out, it has been discussed many times over the years, but he has always had people defending him even when the evidence was irrefutable.

This isn’t just about him. When I was a much younger artist and much less aware of such things, I saw an Arthur Suydam zombie Silver Surfer cover and immediately recognised the surfboard as just copied and pasted from one of my covers, texture, lighting, everything just as I painted it, with only the areas where I had the Surfer standing smudged badly to disguise it. I couldn’t believe it, a “legendary” artists just wholesale stealing something I spent all this time creating. He wasn’t inspired by it, he didn’t use it as reference, he didn’t homage it, he just stole the whole thing from someone trying to make their way into the industry. Purely out of laziness, or a lack of skill, or any of the other things which mean you aren’t qualified for the job. I wasn’t quiet about it at the time, but that image is still out there published as both the cover and prints.

So back to Mattina. I don’t want to bully him or cause him harm, but he is making a mockery, and has been his entire career, out of all of us. He’s selling you a flashy piece of trash created without any care, skill or honesty. He’s just trying to deceive everyone for reasons only known to him. In my view work like that is hugely damaging to the industry, to the companies he works for, to all of us artists who actually care but then have our art stolen and repurposed. It’s sad that only such an obvious oversight such as the double S on Superman seems to have finally been irrefutable, but it’s the perfect example of how little he cares. Even if he is using Al, or if he is stealing other people’s work, even if Al is the future, as so many claim, then at least do it well. But he is even awful at cheating and couldn’t see that the literal main element of the whole cover, the Superman logo, is messed up. That is not a mistake, that is pure oversight on his part where his cheating slipped through as he was too lazy to even look at his “creation” to make sure the most basic of elements are correct.

He cares so little for the art and the audience that he can’t even put effort in to cheat well.

I don’t wish him or anyone like him any harm, but I also want the harm they are doing to all of us to stop. I could think of dozens of my artists friends trying to break into the industry who could have done a much better and far more honest job. It’s damaging to them as much as it’s dishonest to the fans and to the artists he has stolen from over the years. It must be really disheartening for a young artist, like I was back with that Silver Surfer, to keep motivated when you are seemingly competing with someone making a total mockery of the things you believe in.

Where do you weigh in on this issue? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

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